In a season like this, every little positive like this is a cause for celebration if you’re the New York Knicks and especially Carmelo Anthony, setting a new franchise record by scoring 62 points without a single turnover in the 125-96 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.
On a personal level, this might have been Anthony’s greatest career night, but it comes in a season where wins are scarce, and all the preseason hope about challenging for the Eastern conference has turned int something completely different, with making the playoffs becoming something that looks at times a bit too difficult to achieve with this group of players and yes, even this head coach.
On a team level, maybe this is something the Knicks can draw from. Anthony is unrivaled on the Knicks in terms of talent, but games like these often provide inspiration to a team that needs one. The win came after five consecutive losses; the Bobcats aren’t exactly a marquee franchise that beating means turning a new leaf, but it’s hard to deny that looking so decisive and efficient, even for just one night, makes this team feel it has something to go on.
I made history tonight, with the performance, but just to be a part of that group of people, like I said, there’s only a small group of people that knows what that zone feels like and tonight I was one of them.
All the problems the Knicks have been dealing with this season took a backseat to a rare performance from Anthony; not just for him or for someone from the Knicks, but on a historic level in the NBA.
He finished with 62 points on 23-of-35 from the field, adding 13 rebounds while hitting six shots from beyond the arc. He is just the sixth player in the last 25 seasons to collect at least 60 points and 10 rebounds in a game, and the first since Tracy McGrady for the Orlando Magic back in 2004. He has also scored the most points without recording a turnover, beating Reggie Miller’s 57 point record (turnovers weren’t recorded before the 1977-1978 season).
The Bobcats tried to stop Anthony, double-teaming him eight times during the second half. Anthony wasn’t tempted; he passed the ball away six times, and went 1-2 from the field when he felt like shooting. Overall he passed 16 times (28%) on his offensive touches and attempted 35 shots (61%), tied for his career high. He took 17 of his 35 shots on isolation plays. On such plays, he converted 10 for 22 points. He leads the league with 5.6 isolation points per game. He was 15-for-24 for 35 points on jump shots.
Anthony was especially efficient when Michael Kidd-Glichrist was guarding him: 11-for-13 (84.6%) for 25 points with MKD as his primary defender. He made one fewer shot against Kidd-Gilchrist than against all other defenders, on nine fewer attempts.
Besides Anthony? Al Jefferson scored 25 points for the losers, but that was it. There was one player on the court, while everyone simply basked in the afterglow, either trying to get away from the building as fast as possible or gloating that they saw something special. This will only mean something if the Knicks actually manage to start playing consistent basketball, inspired by this performance by a great player, stuck on what seems to be a bad team this season.